When Will meets Alice, he can't believe his luck. She's smart, sexy and, much to Will's surprise, in love with him.
Alice brings meaning to his urban existence. But true love never came easy and soon devotion leads Will to something darker.
The Bird Room is a candid, funny and joyous portrait of love and desire in the modern age.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 21/01/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781847672612
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by CDVicarage
I received the paperback edition of this novel as part of the Early Reviewers scheme, so it has extracts of reviews written for the earlier edition. I can only conclude that the wrong cover has been attached to the text. These reviews imply that the book is a comedy – ‘exuberant’ they call it ‘so fresh it practically pings with energy’. They mention the ‘deadpan wit and cutting one-liners’. The story I read has four characters, all suffering from various levels of anxiety, depression and general inability to cope with life. One is an actress who ‘acts’ for pornographic videos; one is an artist, apparently successful, (although to my middle-aged, middle-class outlook his ideas are empty and contrived); the other two are a couple but they do not talk to each other except to say what they don’t mean.As far as I could tell they all have dreadful back-stories and I can’t imagine that any of them have any hopes of a brighter future. And nor do I really care.(Later: I read the full versions of some of the quoted review extracts and they convey much the same opinion as my review – only better expressed, they are by professional writers, after all. The quoted comments were there, but as asides rather than the main thrust of the reviews.)
Review by elkiedee
Will meets Alice, a romance develops and they quickly move in together. However, a passing remark by Alice about a previous relationship starts Will on a seriously weird course of behaviour. There is also a secondary storyline about Helen, who wants to be an actress but is drifting into sex work. Her story is told in the third person.I found the characters in this novel unsympathetic at best, and the main character intensely irritating. There is quite a lot of explicit description of sexual matters, none of it very sexy, particularly if you don't really care about anyone in the book.The writing is very stylised and the action of the novel jumps backwards and forwards in time. The separate storylines are quite clearly delineated as they are first and third person. Thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book through the Early Reviewers scheme, I appreciated being sent it although I was disappointed.
Review by sanddancer
The Bird Room is a modern take on romance, obsession and identity. The main narrator is an unemployed man called Will who fears he is losing his girlfriend to his artist friend, who is also called Will. The other part of the narrative is about an 'actress' who calls herself Helen, and is employed by man she meets on the internet to panda to their perversions.I found the non-linear structure of the book added to the intrigue and was interested in what would happen to the main characters. Ultimately though, the book failed to deliver on its promising start. It is written in an engaging and easy to read way, so I surged through it but I found it lacking in substance and in the end, I didn't believe that any of these people were real.
Review by SkyRider
Rubric:When Will meets Alice, he can't believe his luck. She's smart, sexy and, much to Will's surprise, in love with him. Alice brings meaning to his urban existence. But true love never came easy and soon devotion leads Will to something darker.The Bird Room is a candid, funny and joyous portrait of love and desire in the modern age.My comments:I got this book as part of the LibraryThing early reviewers programme. Killen's use of language is very deft and clever and his characters well painted, but I was ultimately disappointed that something billed as a comedy wasn't really that funny; most of the humour derives from the increasingly psychotic way Will behaves as he becomes increasingly secure about his relationship, but ultimately I found that that made me cringe rather than laugh.So not a book that suited me then, but equally not a bad book. The right person would probably enjoy it immensely— it's just that that person wasn't me.